Students' body relax bandh duration as public anger brews

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Guwahati, Nov 2 (UNI) Public outcry to serial strikes in the aftermath of Thursday's blasts in Assam forced powerful All Assam Students' Union (AASU) to relax its proposed bandh hours by more than half tomorrow, while a traders' body revoked its bandh altogether.

AASU had called a 24-hour statewide bandh on November three to protest the government's alleged failure in providing security to the people and mourn the deaths in bombings.

However, the common people have been showing resentment against sporadic bandhs as the blasts victims, now nursing injuries in different hospitals were the worst sufferers due to strike. The attendants and relatives fail to reach the injured due to suspension of all works.

Life came to a standstill in Assam yesterday following a bandh called by the BJP and VHP to protest the blasts despite opposition for such political act.

The AASU was, however, quick in assessing the public anger and announced to observe an 11-hour bandh from 0500 hours tomorrow, informed AASU general secretary Tapan Gogoi. He said all AASU units have been directed to ensure a peaceful agitation and the students' body has arranged for volunteers to help any person in need during the bandh duration.

The Assam Chamber of Commerce, which had also called for a statewide bandh, revoked the call today and decided to protest with a sit-in demonstration in the city tomorrow.

The blast-ravaged towns of Guwahati, Kokrajhar, Barpeta Road and Bongaigaon have remained closed since ''Black Thursday'' when nine bombs ripped apart these areas, leaving 81 dead so far and over 400 injured.

The day after was a spontaneous bandh observed by the people mourning the incident, though transportation system and basic amenities shops functioned normally.

Opposition party Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) has refrained from calling a bandh. It had observed ''Black Day'' on Friday and sat on a demonstration in front of the Raj Bhavan today.

A PIL has been lying pending for a final hearing at the Gauhati High Court against bandhs as such strikes not only create problems for victims during similar times, but also spell trouble for the general public.

UNI SG PC RL CS1842

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